Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

The eviction moratorium was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, but was extended to Jan. 31, due to Congress’s stimulus policy last month.

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated many local economies across the country. An eviction moratorium protects renters from facing eviction if they are struggling to make payments during the pandemic. It does not eliminate the unpaid amount however, and will require tenants to apply for relief. 

In December, Congress passed a stimulus policy that includes $25 billion in rent relief and $2.6 billion is allocated to California. 

To be eligible, at least one person in the household will need to qualify for unemployment or household income reduction. The overall household income must be 80% or less of the median income in that area and demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. The grantees will prioritize households with assistance based on the severity of their needs.

“Eligible households that include an individual who has been unemployed for the 90 days prior to application for assistance and households with income at or below 50 percent of the area median are to be prioritized for assistance,” according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury website.

Rental relief guidelines apply to all renters and do not prohibit undocumented persons. 

The process to apply for funds has yet to be established, but programs are in the works by local governments. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of the tenant, or the tenant can apply themselves through the future program.

The financial assistance for renters will go directly to the landlords, and if they are not accepted, they will go to the renters. The amount each household will receive does not have a limit but are determined by states and local governments.

“Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if the grantee determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and grantee funds are available,” according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury website.

90% of the rental relief funds will be used in direct assistance for housing related expenses. The remaining 10% of the funds will be used for house stability services, case management, and other administrative costs.
The rental relief included in the stimulus law will benefit millions of renters in the United States. An additional $30 million was proposed earlier this month for rental and utility bill assistance in President-elect Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Written ByLauren Akabori

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